Random thoughts

***On Friday I realized that I wore basically the same t-shirt to the gym and then to work. I started out in an bright orange shirt with “Gators” printed on the front in blue. Then after my shower I put on a navy blue shirt with “Gators” printed on the front in orange. I really need to diversify my wardrobe.

***Speaking of diversifying my wardrobe, today I realized that I wore two Harry Potter t-shirts. First thing this morning I put on the Ravenclaw shirt I bought at Harry Potter World, and then I packed my Hogwarts Quidditch shirt to wear at the gym. I am such a nerd! I wore a Strong Bad t-shirt home from the gym, but I don’t think that makes me any cooler.

***I only feel slightly guilty about wearing a sweater and driving around with my car windows open while the rest of the country is experiencing record high temperatures. I actually got cold standing outside during our Hawaiian party last weekend. There aren’t too many places you can be cold in July, but the Southern California coast is one of them.

***The movie “Death Race” was starting on FX just as I got on the elliptical machine at the gym this morning. I wasn’t really all that interested in the movie (not like “The Proposal” last weekend), but I watched it anyway. I think I remember “Death Race” bombing at the box office, but I have to admit that I got caught up in it as I was exercising. It was a fairly exciting action movie. I was sorry I didn’t get to see the end!

***I left my credit card at Pizzeria Mozza last night. How stupid, especially since the restaurant is in Hollywood which can be an hour’s drive away. I wondered whether it would just be easier to havel them cut up the card and get a new one, but Dan came up with a much more appealing option. We made reservations for dinner next Saturday at their sister restaurant, Osteria Mozza, which is right next door. This way we’ll be able to pick up my credit card and get a fabulous meal. Perfect!

My Saturday

Dan and I had big plans for today. Last night on our way home from our ballroom dance lesson we decided that we wanted to go to Pizzeria Mozza, one of the first foodie-esque restaurants we tried a few years ago and really liked, for dinner tonight. Since we waited until the last minute to get a reservation we could only get a table at 4:15 PM, but as long as we built the rest of our Saturday around it everything would work out fine. Dan and I were both going to get up early-ish today and exercise before we had to get cleaned up, run errands/do chores, and be ready to leave for the restaurant by about 3:30 PM since it’s in the Hollywood area. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, things didn’t go exactly as planned. We stayed up much later than we should have last night after getting home from ballroom dance because we wanted to watch both new episodes of the new season of “Project Runway.” Big mistake. Dan’s alarm went off at some point this morning, but he turned it off and we both quickly went back to sleep. Sleeping in is one of our favorite parts of the weekend and we definitely indulged today. I finally got out of bed around 10 AM (at which point I should have thrown on my workout clothes and gone to the gym, but I didn’t), but Dan stayed put until noon. By then I had procrastinated long enough that I didn’t have time to go to the gym anymore. Dan did leave the house to run some errands before we had to go to dinner, but I stayed home and took care of a few lingering chores instead. We gave ourselves 45 minutes to get from our house to Pizzeria Mozza. We’ve gotten into the habit of taking surface streets when we’re going to Hollywood because the 405 freeway can be a major pain. But today we discovered that the surface streets with their many, many lights can be even worse. We were late for our reservation, but fortunately it wasn’t a problem and we were still seated as soon as we arrived. After sampling three different pizzas Dan and I remembered why Pizzeria Mozza set us on the foodie path. The food was so delicious. When we got home from dinner it was still fairly early (that’s what happens when you eat at 4:15 PM) so we crashed on the couch and watched this week’s Tri-Nations rugby match – New Zealand vs. South Africa. It was an exciting game (much more so than the charity match against Fiji last week) and we were happy that the All Blacks beat the Springboks in their first serious international face-off of the year. So now that Saturday is almost over I’m starting to think about Sunday. Dan and I are are both going to make sure to exercise in the morning and then probably walk down to the beach together for dinner tomorrow night. Hopefully all of that physical activity will make up for my vast amounts of laziness today. I haven’t had a very productive Saturday, but at least it’s been restful. Now I’m going to go to bed so that I can get up at a decent hour tomorrow. Good night!

Foodie Friday – Thirty-eighth new recipe

I didn’t know what a fluffernutter was until Googled it after seeing this recipe for fluffernutter bars a couple of weeks ago. I was astonished that I’d never heard of a peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich before! What have I been missing? I felt so deprived. So since I absolutely had to try the peanut butter/marshmallow combination, and since I had an extra cake mix and some leftover eggs in my kitchen, I whipped up a batch of fluffernutter bars on a whim one weekend. Dan isn’t a big fan of peanut butter so I took most of the bars to work to share with my co-workers, and they were very appreciative. These fluffernutter bars are absolutely delicious! I ate more than my fair share. One of my co-workers even asked for the recipe so I know I wasn’t the only one who thought they were good. I left a few of the bars at home in case Dan was desperate for a sugar rush, and he actually liked them when he broke down and tried one. So the fluffernutter bars are a winner all around! This recipe is definitely a keeper.

1 box (18.25 oz) yellow cake mix
1 stick (1/2 c) unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup marshmallow creme
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
12 oz white chips

Mix together cake mix, butter, and egg into a large bowl, stirring to combine. Press the resulting dough into the bottom of a greased 13×9″ pan. Combine peanut butter, marshmallow creme, and condensed milk in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Pour over the cake mix dough and top it all off with the white chips. Bake for 23-25 minutes at 350 deg F until cooked through. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving. Enjoy!

Based on Picky Palate’s Gooey White Chocolate Fluffernutter Cake Bars.

Sick day

I stayed home from work today because I had a horrible stomach ache when I woke up this morning. It had been bothering me since yesterday, but this morning was the worst. But after a couple of doses of Pepto Bismol and a few extra hours of sleep I felt much better. I’ve spent the rest of the day trying to catch up on chores and other things. I just started a third load of laundry, watched “Funny Girl” on my laptop, made a quick dinner of kalua pork and pineapple rice, and I’m almost done with my latest library book. If only Dan was here to watch the season premiere of “Project Runway” with me the evening would be perfect. As it is, he probably won’t be home until late so I need to start getting ready for bed. If my stomach cooperates I want to go to spinning tomorrow morning. I have to put clean sheets on the bed and fold a couple loads of laundry before I can go to sleep, though. Why is bedtime never simple?

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday 7/27/11

Front door before and after! I took the first picture in an attempt to photograph our new Christmas wreath in December. It’s awful, but you can see the peeling finish on the right side of the door. I took the second picture yesterday of our front door that Dan expertly refinished last week. Doesn’t it look great? Even better than when the door was brand new. I have such a handy husband!

Strong Bad emails

Back in 2001 when Dan and I started dating, his family came to visit him and his grandmother quite often (what better excuse to come to LA?) and during one of these visits I remember Dan’s little brother watching an internet cartoon and laughing infectiously. I was intrigued so Dan introduced me to Homestar Runner and it’s been entertaining me ever since. When I moved into my apartment near UCLA in 2002 the Homestar Runner website was my primary source of entertainment for at least a week while I waited for my cable to be hooked up. I watched every single Strong Bad Email at least once during that time. Every Monday when I was in grad school we used to check the website from our lab to see if there was a new Strong Bad emails to watch. Anything to put off working on our research! I remember laughing hysterically at some of the cartoons with the other members of my research group. I think we were easily amused, but that doesn’t mean we weren’t having fun. Through the years I’ve enjoyed following the continuing adventures of Homestar Runner and his friends. Unfortunately the creators have been on an extended hiatus and there hasn’t been much new material for a long time, but that doesn’t mean the old episodes are any less entertaining. Just last Friday while I was baking brownies and cookies for our Hawaiian party, Dan and I watched some classic Strong Bad emails and found that they are just as funny as they were ten years ago. Here are some of my favorites. Enjoy!

Spring cleaning – My absolute favorite
Flag day – Strongbadia’s national anthem
Invisibility – Stealing Swiss Cake Rolls
New hands – Guitars and laserbeams
Dragon – Introducing Trogdor
Caper – The Cheat is not dead
Stunt double – That guy is Dangeresque

Sunday workout

I didn’t leave to go to the gym yesterday until almost 8 PM. Lazy, I know, but Dan wasn’t feeling too well after our party on Saturday night and I was afraid to leave him home alone most of the day. But after having a Western Bacon Six Dollar Burger from Carl’s Jr. for dinner (so delicious) I decided I couldn’t put off exercising any longer. There were three other people at the Boeing Fitness Center when I arrived, but they had all left by the time I started my workout. I love having the gym to myself. It was even better last year when I knew where the staff hid the DirecTV remote control so I could watch whatever I wanted, but those days are gone. Fortunately the TV in front of the elliptical machines was already tuned to FX and “The Proposal” had just started. I’d never seen it before, and since the closed captioning was working, I had something to entertain me while I was working out besides my little iPod Shuffle. For some reason I was feeling great at the gym yesterday. I was in a good mood, I wasn’t getting as tired as I usually do at the gym, and I was loving my music. When Chris Brown’s “Forever” came on I was practically dancing, if that’s at all possible while on an elliptical machine. This was in sharp contrast to last weekend when, despite listening to some of my favorite songs, I had no desire to sing along with them while I was walking. I blame hormones. But anyway, yesterday I felt great. The only problem was when I moved from the elliptical to the stationary bike after 45 minutes and I was too far away from the TV to read the closed captioning anymore (I wasn’t wearing my contacts). So I decided to throw caution to the wind and put on my glasses for the second half of my workout. Luckily no one else was there to see my interesting fashion statement. The glasses proved to be a bit problematic because, although I hate to admit it, I sweat a lot when I work out. (As a side note, at my dance studio we used to say, “Men sweat, women glisten, and ballerinas glow.” Yeah, this ballerina sweat…a lot.) Wiping my face on the sleeve on my t-shirt like I normally do when I’m working out was a little awkward with my glasses on, but it was worth it to finish watching “The Proposal.” That movie was a lot like “While You Were Sleeping,” which I love, so I’m glad I braved a little discomfort to see it. I finished up my workout, and if the machines are to be believed, I burned 730 calories in 90 minutes of exercise. That wasn’t enough to negate the burger I ate for dinner, but not too bad either. So even though I didn’t get home until about 11 PM, I’m glad I went to the gym last night. If only every workout could be that enjoyable!

Hawaiian party

Our Hawaiian-themed party last night was a great success. A good time was had by all. I went to bed at around 2 AM, which was about the time the last few guests left. I got up at 10 AM and started cleaning up the house (not fun). Dan wasn’t feeling too well, but he’s better now after spending most of the day in bed. The only things I accomplished today were ordering a new pair of running shoes (the ones I have irritate my feet) and going to the gym. The party last night was a blast and definitely worth the effort, but I’m glad this week will be a little calmer than week. OK, time for me to go to bed. Good night!

Party prep

Dan and I are in the final stages of our Hawaiian party preparations so I don’t have much time to write today. Last night I made some bite-sized brownies with macadamia nuts that turned out really well (using the Perfect Fudgy Brownies recipe that I posted in May) and some coconut macaroons (using this recipe) that just turned out fair. Better than my first attempt at macaroons, but still not quite what I was hoping for. This morning I got up early to buy a pork roast (the largest one I could find at our local store) and put it into the Crockpot in enough time to have kalua pork ready for the party tonight. Then I took a long walk to the beach and back. I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to get any exercise today, but since Dan was still sleeping when I was was done prepping the pork roast I didn’t feel too guilty leaving the house for three hours to take a walk. When I got back he was getting the house ready for the party. Right now I’m getting a pineapple upside down cake ready to go into the oven. I’ve make this cake before, namely as my first new recipe of 2011, so I already know it’s going to be delicious. I’d better get going so I won’t still be working when our guests start to arrive. I have a feeling this is going to be a crazy party!

Foodie Friday – Thirty-seventh new recipe

I made this delicious corn chowder for dinner one day last week, but I forgot to take a picture of it to post here. Not that a bowl of corn chowder looks like much, though, so you’re not really missing much in the way of visuals. Anyway, this soup is really easy to make, thanks to the Crockpot – the most complicated part is using the immersion blender at the end. I never knew how satisfying it is to liquify vegetables before! I added some salt, black pepper, and white pepper that wasn’t part of the original recipe and I think it turned out great. So if you’re looking for a tasty recipe for your slow cooker, I would highly recommend this corn chowder. Just a few ingredients and a few hours and you have a hearty meal. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!

1 bag (16 oz) frozen white corn
1 can (15.5 oz) cut corn
1 qt (32 oz) chicken broth
1 c diced onion
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp white pepper
4 oz cream cheese

Dump all ingredients into your slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours, or until onion is translucent and the soup is fully heated. I cooked mine for 2 hours on high and then for 2 hours on low, instead, stirring several times to break up the clumps of cream cheese. Carefully use a hand-held stick blender, or transfer to a regular blender or food processor in batches, and pulse to desired smoothness. Ladle into individual bowls and serve. Enjoy!

Based on A Year of Slow Cooking’s Corn Chowder with Cream Cheese.

EDITED on 4/6/12: I halved the amount of black pepper and white pepper in this recipe because it was a little strong in my last batch.